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Delegates representing a bloc of ethnic armed groups have agreed to four out of eight principles* that would pave the way towards them signing a nationwide ceasefire agreement (NCA) with the Burmese government and joining the peace process.
The Delegation for Political Negotiation (DPN), an appointed group of negotiators representing the ethnic alliance United Nationalities Federation Council (UNFC), agreed to the four principles, including clauses pertaining to the ceasefire and the establishment of a federal union in Burma, at their sixth meeting with the government’s Peace Commission held at Rangoon’s National Reconciliation and Peace Centre on 10-11 August.
Tun Zaw, a spokesman for the ethnic bloc’s DPN, said afterwards: “When it comes to military operations, we need to strengthen the mechanisms of the Joint-Monitoring Committee. And with regard to the inclusion of international representatives [at peace negotiations], both parties will need to discuss the matter further.
“With the guidance of our leaders, we hope that we can finish [negotiations on the 8-point proposal] at the upcoming seventh meeting.”
Speaking to DVB after the Rangoon meeting on Friday, Zaw Htay, the director-general of the State Counsellor’s Office, concurred that an agreement had been reached on four of the eight principles in the peace plan.
“The DPN’s proposal actually has nine points,” he explained. “We can say it has eight points and the ninth is related to the signing of the NCA after the other eight principles have been ratified.
“So, on the whole, we can say that agreement has been reached on points 1-4. We discussed the other four points, but no decisions have been made. We will report [our conclusions from the meeting] to the leaders on both sides. Debate on the remaining four principles will commence at the next meeting.”
*The four principles agreed at the DPN-Peace Commission meeting on 10-11 August 2017:
- The Burmese government and military will declare a nationwide ceasefire within 24 hours of an NCA being signed;
- A federal union will be established with equal rights and autonomy;
- Political dialogue will be all-inclusive at every level;
- Constitutional laws may be drafted and promulgated based on the outcomes of the 21CPC [peace talks].
Four points remain to be discussed:
- Military code of conduct (COC) and monitoring the terms of reference (TOR)
- Formation of a neutral enforcement tribunal for the NCA involving domestic and international representatives who are acceptable to both sides;
- Formation of Joint-Monitoring Committee with representatives from government, ethnic armed groups and international figures acceptable to both sides;
- Any development projects planned for ceasefire areas are to undergo consultation with the public and ethnic armed groups.